Thursday, March 23, 2017

Drum Roll - The Finishing Touches on the CallAir

The clock began in October, 2013, on a restoration project to bring a one-of-a-kind airplane back to life.
It started with an orphan airplane that was originally going to be the first of a new production run of a proven design - the Interstate Cadet. There was ambition to go back in production after World War II, but the reality of the marketplace showed there was too much established competition from Cessna, Piper and others, so plans for production were shelved. The basic design did re-emerge in the 1970s for another market - the Alaska bush - under another owner and another name, the Arctic Tern.
Reuel and Barlow Call from "CallAir Affair" by Carl Peterson. Click on the pictures to make them larger.
Two men were particularly keen on the Cadet design: Reuel and Barlow Call, cousins from Afton, Wyoming. Local ranchers liked the high wing and rugged construction of the Cadets and their military cousins, the L-6s, that the CallAir factory rebuilt during the war years. 

While they liked the Cadet, the Calls had their own line of personal airplanes and initially bought the inventory of hard-to-get parts and supplies from Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Corp for production of their own designs. (The sale of inventory was separate from the type certificate, which had first gone to Max Harlow in July, 1945. The Calls bought the Cadet type certificate in July, 1950.)
Serial Number 1001 (pictured) was built up from Interstate parts in 1950, possibly before purchase of the type certificate. S/N 1001 is shown in FAA records as an Interstate, but it had a CallAir serial number. My airplane, serial number 1002, is recorded as a CallAir, built in 1952. The Calls reserved blocks of registration numbers and, curiously, the numbers assigned to 1001 and 1002 were reversed; 1001 given N2923V and 1002, N2922V.

A Cadet was built up as an Interstate in 1950 and was granted either an Experimental or Restricted Airworthiness Certificate. It was used as a demo for marketing. (It is rumored to have gone to Alaska. The FAA records show its airworthiness classification as "Unknown" and the registration revoked).
Serial Number 1002, shown in the final assembly building at Call Aircraft Company, Afton WY, 1952. Photo supplied by Major General Boyd Eddins, USAF (Retired), who worked at the CallAir plant as a teenager.

Cadet Serial Number 1002 was built with a more powerful engine for Reuel Call in September, 1952, as an experimental R&D and demo airplane with an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate. FAA airworthiness records show a statement of conformity with Type Certificate A-737 in November, 1952, and application for a Standard Airworthiness Certificate at the same time as a CallAir S-1A-90C, the only airplane so designated making this airplane one-of-a-kind. (The Airworthiness Certificate was renewed at annual inspection each following year but current FAA records show first issuance in 1956). 

The airplane was used as a trainer after being sold to a flying school in Atlanta in early 1954. Barlow Call flew the airplane from Afton to Atlanta to deliver it to Davis-Elder Aircraft Corp at the Fulton County Airport. Davis-Elder sold it to Nichols Flying Service at Black Mountain NC in 1955. After another sale in 1957, with the exception of a couple of short vacations in Florida, the airplane was at home with two families in the mountains of western NC. 

More to come. Reunions and homecomings. First, though, the finishing touches, inspections and test flights.